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About the "Google Apps" System ... for RVUUF.org


How Does using a rvuuf.org affect my personal e-mail account?


It is really easy to have all your <user>@rvuuf.org mail forwarded to your primary account, even if it is under a different domain (such as hotmail.com)... so you can view and manage it there as you usually do (with whatever mail client you use, such as Outlook).

There may also be a way to tie your RVUUF account to your personal account so that you can log into the Google / RVUUF features using your existing personal account, but this needs to be tested again.


What are the Benefits of using a RVUUF Account?


RVUUF has access to a program called "Google Apps for Nonprofits".  It is a "cloud-based" business suite that Google normally sells, but we get it for free because RVUUF is a certified NPO.

Once you get a rvuuf.org account, all of the features included with "Google Apps" become available to you.  Complete details can be seen using the two above links, or here.

The "products" (all Cloud based) most beneficial to RVUUF are... "Google:
  • Drive & Docs (Documents)
    • Text (Word Processing)
    • Spreadsheet
    • Presentations
    • Drawings
    • etc.
  • Groups
    • Group e-Mail List services.
  • Sites
    • Website builder.
  • Calendar
    • Time & Event management.
  • Mail
    • A rich featured e-mail service.
  • Hangouts
    • Which may be tied to Google+ ... which is their "social media" service (like Facebook)... which you do not need to use, but you do need to turn it on to use the video conferencing feature in "Hangouts" (the last time we checked).

There is a tremendous benefit to everyone in "the organization" (rvuuf.org) having a RVUUF Account.  From a management viewpoint this would allow us (admin folks) to "share" information on an Organizational Scale with just a few button clicks.  This would allow us to MUCH more easily control who see what, and allow us to keep semi-private information just within the organization... and not have it accessed by the entire Internet.  From a safety and Privacy viewpoint, this is a huge asset.

Another big benefit of this "Google Apps" system is the ability to collaborate on documents.  It allows groups of people to collaborate on a single (cloud-based) document.  There are a lot of controls as to who can View, Comment, or Edit a document.  Again, access can easily be managed on an Organizational Scale here.  You can roll a document back to a previous version.  You can also download various formats of the G-Drive G-Doc, such as: .DOCX (MS Word), .XLSX (MS Excel) .PDF (Adobe Reader), etc.
The overall scope here is pretty huge.  There is only one document, that everyone can contribute on, or just view.  No more passing copies around for people to send back and then be recompiled.  You can control access to one or more people, or the whole organization, or everyone on the web (via a web link).  It is a very flexible system, expressly designed for organizations like RVUUF.  There is a text chat feature built-in with the editor, and/or you can use the system simultaneously with "Hangouts" (the Video/Voice service).

The more people within RVUUF that are willing to use the system, the better it will work.

It is reasonably easy to manage multiple accounts with this system... which can be addressed in more detail on request.


Do I have to install anything?


It is suggested that you use the Google Chrome Browser to log into your RVUUF Account.  (More about Google Chrome.)

You may need to install that.

Other web-browsers like Firefox and Opera can work OK... but Chrome is by far the best option.


To use the Voice and Video conferencing features associated with Google Hangouts you will need to do a one-time install of a software "plug-in" in your browser.  (More about G-Hangouts.)  If you keep your browser up-to-date, it should automatically update the needed plug-in as needed.  Again... Google Chrome does a really good job of seamlessly maintaining these updates for you (as long as you observe the Browser Updates, which are usually automatic).

You may occasionally need to re-boot your PC, or re-start the Chrome Browser to get all the updates installed correctly.


If you opted out of Google+ ("Google Plus") you will need to associate with that service before you can use "Hangouts".  (More about Google Plus.)  This appears to be a gimmick, to promote that "product".  (G-Plus is a social media system, similar to Facebook.)  You Do Not need to use Google+, but you do need to have it "turned on" (i.e. associated with your account).


:-) ... cg